Friday, September 14, 2012

A New Blog - Patches of Heaven

I clearly haven't done a great job of keeping up with regular Blog posts here in recent times ...  :)

I now post over at a new Blog that Abby has started, which you can find here:

Abby, Tammy and I all post every day from Monday to Friday, with Tammy taking Wednesdays, Abby taking Thursdays, occasional guest posters on Tuesdays, and me on Fridays and usually Mondays. 

We'd love to see you there.  We'd also love to read your comments. If you like us, feel free to 'follow' along  :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Haircut Story Number 7,859.

My main object in writing this is to change the look of my Blog page for when I log on each day to see what you are all up to.  Even if it's only me that sees it, it was getting a little boring.  So this post is really about having a change of scenery :)

I thought I would tell you that I just gave myself a haircut.  (Cutting edge news, this.)

Of course I always give myself a bit of a clip 'n chop around the front of my head, (where I can easily reach), in between visits to my chosen (no complete disasters yet) hairdresser - who does actually get a little snippy (soo glad I could use that word there), on occasion about my DIY attitude.  But when your hair grows this quickly and a hairdresser visit costs $40..  she's learned to live with it.

(I asked a friend where she gets her hair cut.  She always looks lovely, and I thought that surely I could find somewhere cheaper.  She pays $120!  Sigh.)

Anyway, this time I thought that I would try doing over my whole head.  My method for cutting the back and other parts I couldn't see was just to kind of grope around and cut anything that seemed a little long or thick. I amused myself occasionally by wondering if Neil would notice.  (If you know Neil then you are probably smiling at the very idea too  :)  Occasionally I would start day-dreaming, and suddenly notice that the bathroom sink was getting very full of hair.  It's almost addictive once you start..

It's not a complete disaster.  Perhaps a little 'Meg Ryan'-short-and-uneven in (most) places.  (I wish!)  I've had worse. And - I saved $40 :)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

How Nino Became an Aussie

(This is another of Uncle Doug's stories, taken from his life story writings.  He was about twelve at the time.)

How Nino became an Aussie -
Kojanup is a typical friendly small town about two hundred kilometres South of the West Australian capital of Perth.  The entire area is very suitable for sheep farming, however clearing the land of the heavy timber is necessary, and while modern methods with large machinery make it a fairly easy task, it was not so just after the Second World War.

The year of 1947 saw me living with my father in the small Perth suburb of East Cannington, enrolled in the little local school.  My parents were recently divorced; another casualty of the war and my sister Patricia lived with my mother in Darwin NT.

The house we lived in was located close to the railway station and had belonged to my grandfather, who had passed away about two years earlier.

The kids at the E.Cannington School were a happy friendly group, while the two teachers did a great job with a class of about fifty kids each.  My teacher was the headmaster Charles Biford, who ran his large class of three standards very well.

While I got on well with all the other kids, including the girls, my best mate was Malcolm who lived only about two hundred metres away from our home, and we enjoyed many happy hours, playing cricket, football, riding our bikes and giving the girls a little attention.

Mal’s parents owned a large, mainly uncleared sheep property not too far out of Kojanup and while they lived in E. Cannington, their two eldest boys, Bert and Alf lived in a typical bush hut on the farm.  The two parents would travel to their property on a regular basis at least every month.   Malcolm and I looked forward to going with them during some school holidays and helped where we could.

Both of the elder boys worked at various bush jobs, shearing, yard building, mustering, droving and anything else that came up.  In between those seasonal jobs they worked hard clearing and preparing the farm for a growing herd of sheep.   

A young Italian was employed to help with the many farm duties; Nino was a bright young man with a sunny disposition and was a quick learner.  Since coming to our country as a prisoner of war only a few years earlier he had been sent to work on farming properties, like many other POW’s.

After the war those POW’s were required to be sent home despite the fact that many desired to stay. Nino at the age of seventeen was drafted into the Army, sent to North Africa and captured by the Australians shortly after, then sent to WA, where he eventually discovered a love for this large free land.  Like many of his countrymen Nino went bush, with the help of sympathetic Aussie farmers when the authorities looked for him to send him back to Italy.

That was how the young man came to work with the two brothers in the beautiful Kojanup area. 

Now both Alf and Bert, being genuine Aussie Bushies, were addicted to yarns, stories and practical jokes, while poor Nino in his youth and innocence was often the victim of their good natured pranks.    

One day after a particularly hard week of tree felling using a mobile circular power saw, the three of them were enjoying a billy of tea, a good yarn, and the inevitable roll your own cigarette.

Young Nino, who had noticed that both Alf and Bert were minus an odd finger or two, asked how come?

Of course missing digits were fairly common among men who worked with razor sharp axes and uncovered circular saws.  
Alf rose to the challenge and with a pained expression on a very solemn face, reluctantly told the following story:
 “Well it’s like this Nino, you know that we are working hard to get the place going properly and we get very short of money to buy things we need. And well, when we get desperate for food, tobacco and the odd bottle of beer or rum we have to do something desperate, not very nice and a little painful.”    

Nino came right in, thinking things like highway hold-ups and bank robbery or even worse crimes.  “What for you do for money?” He fearfully asked.        

Without a trace of humour crossing his stony face Alf told the story.  “Nino I will tell you the truth if you promise not to tell anyone, it must remain a secret to the three of us only”.  The young Italian crossed himself and swore he would never tell even under torture.

Alf was mightily impressed by the loyalty of their employee, and went straight to the story.

“Well mate it’s like this”, and picking up his razor sharp axe, he spread his fingers on a tree trunk, and made the motion of chopping.

Poor young Nino was horrified.  “What for you chop finger off”. He cried in alarm.

Not a flicker of shame crossed Alf’s stony bearded face. “ We get good money from insurance company, enough to keep us going six months for just one finger“.    

Nino believed the story and admired the strength and dedication of Alf and Bert even though it was terrible to contemplate. Another hard week went by and one day, after eating their lunchtime Vegemite and Golden Syrup sandwiches, Bert brought up the fact that they were running short of supplies, and really would have to make a trip to town.

“Yair that’s right we are nearly out of tucker and tobacco, and I sure would go for a nice cool beer or a nip or two of rum after a hard day,” Alf said, looking directly at his brother, who came out with, “Well that’s true enough, we are nearly out of all supplies and we should go to town for more. But what can we use for money?  The Bank has been sending us very dirty letters asking to have our overdraft cut down.  I can’t see us getting through until our wool cheque comes in about another two months or so at least.  Unless”. And he looked hard and expectantly at Alf, who said very softly. 

“So it has come to that again”.  And reaching for his axe started to hone an already sharp edge.

Nino understood or rather misunderstood Alf’s intention and horrified, cried out “Oh no you poor boys please no”. He appealed and tears streamed down his compassionate face when he looked at the grim, determined pair. “Which one this time?” looking at them both with eyes like saucers.
“Nino you are a very good friend of ours and we both think of you as a brother, but look at our hands, Bert has three fingers missing and I have two and a half gone.  Now it is your turn to help my little brother.”  Alf smiled at the young lad grimly.

With both of those fine actors looking at him, Nino suddenly got the idea and intent.   The young Italian was fast in making his move to get away, but Burt was like a striking black snake, and wrapped his long arms and legs about the lad.

Nino fought like a banshee to avoid a terrible mutilation, he screamed and swore in Italian, English, Australian and a mixture of all three and then some.   He punched, scratched, kicked like a wild brumby and bit like a crocodile.  All to no avail as Burt using all his great strength and skills as an unbeaten grass fighter, pinned the lad with a neberwazzi, the special hold used by gun shearers to overcome the greatly feared huge feral rams, and nearly everything else that walks, runs or crawls.

Alf had picked up a strong whippy green stick, like the old teachers cane, and while hiding it behind his back, picked up his razor sharp axe, and made sure the struggling Nino got a good look at what he held.

“Quickly now stretch his hand onto the log, it doesn’t matter if he wont stop struggling, if we get more than one it’s a lot more money” shouted Alf.

Burt complied and when Alf raised the gleaming axe, Nino nearly busted loose but the big shearer held on and turned the lad’s head.  “It’s OK Nino it doesn’t hurt for long,” Alf called and dropped the axe and brought the green stick sharply on the stretched out fingers.   
“I got two“ yelled Alf, as the terrified lad broke loose, screaming and not daring to look at the damage to his stinging left hand, he jammed his supposedly wounded hand under his armpit so he couldn’t see.

The hysterical victim bolted away from the two madmen who had burst into maniacal shrieks of laughter as they chased after the fleeing lad.

Thinking they were not through with him yet, the bolting Nino incredibly went into overdrive, jumping fences and large logs like a champion steeplechase racehorse.  Still screaming like a demented Dervish and not daring to look at his hand poor Nino was intent on putting as much distance as possible between the two raving maniacs and himself.  . 

The two partners in crime, knowing they had no hope of catching their victim collapsed in a heap, out of breath, and blinded with tears of mirth.

It was on dusk before Nino turned up at their hut, and confronted the, by now sort of remorseful pair.  Of course the culprits blamed each other and promised they would never do anything like it again. It took most of a bottle of OP Rum before the then inebriated Nino, who finally admitted it was so well done and acted, displayed the spirit of forgiving.
And that was when Nino became a fair dinkum Aussie with his own wicked sense of humour.

For many years that story was told in the bush pubs and shearing sheds around our great country and still is to this very day.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Uncle Doug - PNG Story

(Continued from previous post..)

'However it was stories about his life at sea that interested me most…

Before and during the War he was the skipper of his own lugger ‘The Black Pearl’ out of Broome, Darwin and New Guinea.  Firstly as a Pearler, then during the war he became a Coast watcher in and around the Islands, pursued by the Nips as he called the Japanese.

One particular story I remember well was mainly about an old mate of his who had been a plantation owner in the Highlands of PNG, and also became a Coast watcher.  Jock Mac he called him and the Captain had some nearly unbelievable adventures together.

Apparently the pair rigged up two big dugout canoes like a catamaran and fitted it with a large petrol engine and somehow fitted a suitable propeller, then added a .50 calibre machine gun from a wrecked warplane.  Then with some other armaments and a crew of local natives, made several raids on Japanese-held ports and outposts, sinking several vessels and killing many soldiers.

Jock must have been a tough old bird, as the Captain told me, and after their last raid they split up to avoid capture.  According to the Captain, Jock Mac went inland, into the mountainous and extremely remote country, while he crept around the coast with his local crew, travelling at night and laying up during daylight.  Both men carried radios to keep in contact with the Darwin Intelligence Group.

The Captain was picked up by a Naval Patrol boat and was taken to Darwin for debriefing.  His beloved lugger Black Pearl, was in a bad state due to Cobra worm and he had to leave her behind.  The last he saw of the gallant little vessel was in the hands of his loyal native crew.

Jock Mac’s story after they parted was incredible, as told by the Captain:

The Japs were seriously after both men, with a large reward offered for their capture and while the Captain escaped unscathed, Jock had a much rougher time.  With his trusted natives he continued reporting Japanese shipping movements, staying just ahead of the searching soldiers, by moving continuously.  It looked as if he would be captured, then beheaded, when he came down with appendicitis, with the Japs only a few days behind the tired, hungry group.

Before taking on the PNG highland Coffee plantation he had worked, after training, in Australia and New Zealand  as a veterinarian, so he had a fair idea of the situation and what he must do to survive.  What happened next can only be described as the desperate actions of a brave and dedicated man.

Finding a dilapidated grass hut, his native boys repaired the roof enough to have a bit of protection from the rain.  Jock calmly prepared a piece of broken mirror, a darning needle with a length  of banana frond fibre and a cut-throat razor, then laying on a bed of banana leaves he carefully washed himself with fresh coconut nectar as a sterilzer.

He had taken the precaution of gathering the boys together and explained in pidgin what he was about to do. One can only imagine the shock and terror of those natives, but with their help he operated upon himself with the razor, removed the offending organ then managed to sew himself up!  After convalescing for only a few days he had to move away with the aid of those reluctant theatre orderlies, just ahead of the Japs.

He recovered from the ordeal and continued sending vital information, and harassing the Japs whenever possible. Eventually he was returned to Cairns for debriefing and met up with the Captain again.  What a reunion that would have been.  Returning to his plantation after the war he was killed when a tree fell on him while driving his Jeep on a steep track.

The old Captain had a tear in his eye as he finished that story and I did not think it had anything to do with the rum he had evaporated that night.

Nearly every night he would talk about something out of his past life, especially if he had a little drink as encouragement....'

Monday, May 30, 2011

Uncle Doug

Ok, I'm putting up a new post because I am tired of looking at the same old one whenever I enter my Blog!  (which I do in order to access all of the other Blogs I like to check).  That's really the only reason :)

However, I have chosen to post about something that I don't think is boring at all.  You might, but I hope not...

My mother's only sibling is about 76 years old, and is living in a small house by a river down in rural New South Wales.  He's too unwell over recent months to continue typing up the autobiographical stories he began to record in more recent years - but the stories he has recorded are worth reading and so I'd like to share them, with his permission.

Uncle Doug left home at age 14, determined to seek out his fortune, or at least some adventure.  Among other things he was a swagman (a swaggie), a jackaroo and roustabout, a crocodile hunter, a gold miner, a sheep shearer, a cane cutter, and a pearl diver.  His life has been interesting and full of adventure.  It's also very much an Australian story.

The text uses Uncle Doug's own words and grammar, with a small amount of editing only.  

'Starting a New Life
Captain Jonson and his World Famous Royal Dancing Ducks.

The first time I saw sheep being shorn was near Buntine W.Australia at Joe Shaw’s property on the wheat belt, where I was employed as a farm hand.   The year was 1949.  I had put my age up from 14 to 16 years of age and was helping out in the shed, cleaning up for just one older shearer.

         Listening to his yarns and stories about his time in the big shearing sheds up North stirred my imagination.

         I loved the stories and vowed to see those big shearing sheds for myself.  I was also impressed by the bigger wages, up from three pounds a week to nearly five and keep, after all I wanted to make my fortune, so after only about six months I resigned.  Not that I was unhappy there, as Mrs.Shaw was a lovable motherly person and Joe Shaw himself was a decent cheerful bloke.  Bevan Shaw their son was in his early 20‘s and a typical multi skilled young farmer, good to work for and showed me lots of interesting things.  I had learned a lot while at the Shaw’s property, driving the old Bedford truck and the new Chamberlain tractor, plowing, seeding, fencing and milking the cow.

         Sundays after the milking I would go shooting rabbits with a .22 caliber rifle or after kangaroos with the .303 Lee Enfield.

         Another reason for leaving was that the Police were looking for me as a runaway. I had changed my name Douglas Bedwell to John Davies, it seemed a good idea at the time, however, it was like so many other things I have lived to regret. It got harder to change back to my real name as time went by.    

         Anyway after work one evening Bevan drove me into town and wishing me luck said goodbye and left me at the bus terminal, under a tree near the railway station.  I discovered that the bus departed for Perth early next morning.

         With only a single blanket, I put on as many clothes as I could for the nights were cold.  I had asked for permission to camp in the bus in case we got unseasonal rain so I would at least be dry.

         After a long cold night at last daylight came and I was walking around trying to get warm, when an old Morris van pulled up beside me and the driver asked me where he might get fuel for his van.   I explained that I wasn’t sure because I was a relative stranger here, but suggested he could ask the bus operator who should arrive soon.  The van driver was a chatty sort of bloke and soon introduced himself as Captain Jonson.  I told him my new name and that I was going to Perth, to look for a job with the big shearing teams.  The old Capt. had a colourful way of speaking, “Holy buckjumping sand crabs lad this is your lucky day”.  He said looking me straight in the eye, “I like the cut of your jib young Jack, and I can offer you an excellent job with me.”

         He spoke like an old time seaman, with lots of earthy, rather salty sayings.  Telling me that he could teach me much and I could earn a healthy wage.

         While I wasn’t as na├»ve as he imagined I liked him and it sounded interesting enough.   And so I joined up with Captain Jonson and his World Famous Dancing Ducks, as his assistant.  I put my gear in the back of his van, which was fitted with a shearers’ type stretcher, his bunk as he called it, and indicated an old thin mattress for me.  The rest of the furniture consisted of a small kerosene stove, a couple of hurricane lamps and a small folding table.  There were several blanket covered boxes, and I detected small noises which seemingly came from them.  I had found the ducks, or as he called them “Me Little Darlins”.

        While we were waiting to get Benzene as he called it, the Capt. lit the stove and made strong black tea and heated a tin of baked beans, which we shared, then gave his darlins some grain.  Sure tasted good and I started to thaw out a little.

The Capt. explained his business to me, travelling around country towns, mainly following the country show circuit and entertaining the good folk with his wonderful dancing ducks.
         We would put up the old pale green tent and the Captain would start spruiking and gathering a crowd, while my job was to keep the gramophone wound up playing music, and getting the ducks ready inside the tent.  The folding table was fitted with a sheet metal top covered with green felt like a billiard table.  It was set up in the middle of the tent with the small kerosene stove placed on a box under the table.   Capt. Johnson instructed me to light the stove, and warm up the ducks dancing arena.  He explained that his little darlin’s hated having to dance with cold feet.

         Outside the Capt. would be working the people until he had a crowd, saying things like,  “My world famous Royal dancing ducks have been entertaining people, including Royal Families around the world, for many years and we have been induced to bring our smaller high quality show for your education and entertainment.”   There was a brightly painted canvas banner with pictures of ducks dancing in front of a King, Queen and a Prince and Princess, with the legend:  “Captain Jonson and his World Famous Royal Dancing Ducks.”  The ducks were called various names after famous dancers like; Dame Margo, Nijinsky , The Madonna and Matushka were just some I can remember.

         When he had enough people, he would come into the tent to test the warmth of the table.   It had to be very warm or the ducks wouldn’t dance.  Then going outside he would start collecting a shilling for adults and sixpence for kids, as they entered the tent.  When it was considered we couldn’t wait for more people, he would then close the tent flap, come inside and address the crowd.  Introducing the ducks as he gently lifted them one by one saying, “Ladies and gentlemen, girls and boys, It gives me great pleasure to introduce our beautiful Matushka, direct from the Russian Ballet…  Madame Matushka will you please consent to giving your adoring audience a small demonstration of your marvelous talents?”  Then holding her up for a little kiss, would say to me,“ Music Maestro Please”, and place her gently on the arena, after I had started the music.  He would drop a handful of grain, then after a moment or two Matushka would start to pick up her feet to start dancing to the music of Swan Lake or some other ballet.  At the Captain’s direction I would add the rest of the cast one by one until they were all dancing, quacking and pecking at the grain scattered around.  At the end of the record, we would lead the applause and quickly gather up the cast, put them into their cage, with a damp blanket on the floor.  Then after another eloquent introduction, we started the next act as I put another record on and rewind the gramophone.    There were several records, mainly of a classical nature, but some trad Jazz. My favorites were Carmen, the opera and the traditional Jazz, “When the saints go marching in.” 
         I got on well with the Captain, even when he had a drink or two, then he would talk even more than usual.  It was quite obvious that he was well educated, at least, to my limited experience. 

         He was born in or near Melbourne, had been to the Cup, loved Aussie rules football, and had once entered the Stalwell gift footrace.

         However it was stories about his life at sea that interested me most...'
(I'll continue with another story next time I post.)

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Importance of Beauty?

This is really kind of cheating, but I just read a thoughtful (as always) post on Divergent Pathways, entitled 'When Ugly Isn't' that you can read here, and I am posting the main part of my own comment on that post here, with some additions, since I think it is an interesting topic and I am interested in your thoughts...  :)

I don't know what the deal is about our looks. My grandmother told me most sincerely that she thought the most beautiful women in the world was Queen Elizabeth - I think she loved her sense of duty.. 

What I do know is that the best people I have ever met in life have not been the best looking. Not that I have anything against good looks - I love and enjoy beauty...   But it's just one part of what we can be, and not a very important part, when all is considered. 

I think the modern world is so incredibly replete with an over-abundance of images everywhere: by mirrors, in reflective windows and other surfaces, photographs, pictures, in magazines, on posters, in advertising, through media, etc, etc, etc - that we've become hyper-sensitive to this one aspect of humanity - giving it an importance far beyond what it deserves. 

Added to that is our modern societal custom of interacting with many people each day only by viewing them and having them view us, usually briefly, in passing. The impression we get to make upon others is therefore reliant upon what they see in that brief glimpse. There's some pressure! - to be evaluated time and again by only our appearance. 

Before the miracles of modern transport, most of us lived all of our lives among the relatively few people who shared our often very small geographical area of home. People got to know each other for who they really were. I think looks were much less important in such an arena. A beautiful soul could be truly appreciated only under such a sustained and discerning light.

I suppose another factor in our over-concern with personal appearance is our over-abundance of free time.  If I had to work longer and harder each day, I doubt I'd be spending so much time worrying about my looks.    You know those lovely, wrinkled and weathered faces we sometimes see in National Geographic photos of aged peasants?  Those faces look like they've got more on their minds than just visage.   

My point is, in summary therefore, that I don't think it was always like this!

I wonder about the next life.. Do we change, or do we see with different eyes? (Because, even on my best days, in my best years...)  

I sometimes consider that the Saviour was described with the words: “He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him"  I also note with interest that the modern prophets and their wives were not usually ultra-slim and model types. (Though always so very wonderful of course!  I do this, as you understand, to comfort myself on occasion :)

Of course, perhaps understanding a little about why I worry so much about appearance is not, unfortunately, the same as not worrying about it anymore...  But perhaps it helps a little :)

And on an altogether different topic (or perhaps not :)  - Our sons Ben and Oliver took out their endowments in the Brisbane temple last night.  Almost everyone in the family was there (we really missed Bec, and Beth and Robbie who are in Sydney) - which was so wonderful!  There are so many fun things to do in life, but this was one of those fewer occasions that brings pure joy!

Neil and I leave with the twins tomorrow morning for a week away together, travelling the Great Ocean Rd.  I am SO HAPPY that we decided to do this - it will be a great time to make some memories, and share some time with each other away from all the necessary preparations...  

They leave for their missions in two weeks from tomorrow. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Our babies are Off To Japan!

Our sweet Twin boys,
who I keep remembering as being only up to my knees just a short while ago... 
are leaving on their missions to Japan 
in less than three weeks!
Ben and Oliver finally received their mission calls a couple of weeks ago.  The family gathered (Beth and Robbie via the phone), to be there for the Big Moment when the envelopes were opened, to find that 
Ben will be serving in the Japan Kobe Mission, and Oliver in the (next door) Japan Fukuoka Mission.  
They are of course tremendously excited.  They can't wait!
We've worked for and looked forward to this moment all of their lives, and now that the time is almost here...
I am going to miss them so much!  Even though I couldn't be happier and more proud of them for how well they have prepared themselves, and what wonderful young men they both are!
We've started the countdown of 'Last Time..' and 'Final..'  
 They both received their 'Duty to God' awards, and spoke at their last Sacrament meeting in our ward last Sunday.  They both finished work last Friday, in order to help us around the house this week (we are probably selling the house this year), before Neil and I take them away for a week down to the Great Ocean Road for a holiday together.
We'll get back in time for video conference week-end, 
then they will leave the following Saturday.
In between times we will shop for what they need, and they will spend time with family members and friends.  We will celebrate their nineteenth birthday on Friday, 15th, 
which is the night they will be set apart by our Stake Presidency,
in a family meeting in our home.
I am so happy and so sad.. !   But most of all, I feel very, very grateful  :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How to Make a Quiet Book - For a Toddler

We usually make our own Christmas presents for family members.  This year for Maggie, I made 
A Quiet Book.

I wanted to make it full of things that she can touch, and that her little eyes and fingers can explore, (rather than of activities to do), since she was not yet twelve months old.  
To get ideas for what to make, I searched about on the net, and found something very similar to this finished project, 'Maggie's Garden', on Etsy.  The one I saw was actually so cute that I even thought about just buying it, but a little chat to Abby confirmed that she loves to have me make something myself.  
So - many hours later, here it is!  I really enjoyed doing it, and was especially impressed with myself to have it all finished in good time before Christmas day!
I particularly wanted to put it up online, since I very much appreciated being able to see the ideas that other people had shared.  Although I have copied a lot of what I have done from the book on Etsy, if you like any part of what I have put into this book and would like to pinch ideas, please be my guest!  

If you would like to see more detail in the pages, clicking on each picture will enlarge it.

So (or Sew!) - to the Book!
(Some instructions below)

Instructions - Such as they are!

My objective was to create a good amount of colour, shape, tactile and textural interest, by using a wide variety of  fabrics and notions such as: 
Silk, velour, velvet, lurex, wool, vinyl, satin, flannelette, plastic, metallic fabrics, cotton quilting prints, tinsel, elastic, buttons, beads, crystals, ribbons, lace, pom-poms, sequins, flowers, knick-knacks, fabric paint, glitter paint, hand and machine embroidery and silver thread, etc.

Leaves and wings can be lifted and played with.  Some of the wings have noisy cellophane stitched into them.
Each of the white pages are stiffened with iron-on interfacing, and the covers are lightly padded with iron-on pellon; each of the joined pages are bound with satin ribbon and threaded with two ribbons.  

My photos aren't fabulous; most of the pages are better when you can see and touch them.  For example, I love the spider's web page, which doesn't show up well here, unfortunately.  The background is black satin; the web is silver metallic embroidery floss, threaded with lots and lots of tiny glass beads and real crystals that can slide back and forth along small lengths of the thread.  

Pretty much everything is well-glued, then stitched and sewn down over and over again, to make it all as safe as I could for little ones to play with.  Most of the eyes are glued and sewn, although the smallest eyes are only glued, since they can't be sewn.  However, they seem to be very sturdily attached.  I went through the book several times myself, trying to pull everything off, so I hope it will all be fine! 
 The exceptions to this are the wings I have used on the firefly and dragonfly - the way they are attached is too fragile; they could be ripped off - so I would do those a little differently if I made this again.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who does something like this!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's all in the Math really...

We missed Tammy in FHE this week.

(She moved into a share-house with some girl-friends on the week-end.)

Neil, Oliver, Ben and I  played the Tennis Ball Game as our Activity in Family Home Evening ....

(Tammy wrote unflatteringly about this game on her blog recently, here)


We made it to One Hundred on our first try.

It took about A Minute.


Friday, January 28, 2011

'Feminist atheist' loves Mormon housewife blogs...

'Why I can't stop reading Mormon housewife blogs

I'm a young, feminist atheist who can't bake a cupcake. Why am I addicted to the shiny, happy lives of these women?'

This is the heading of an article written by a magazine journalist.
It's fairly lengthy but I think you will find it 
an interesting read.  
You can find the article here.
There was also an interesting follow-up blog comment here: